The South may be changing, but the old South has not disappeared. In May 1969, for example, an all-white federal court jury in Meridian, Mississippi, acquitted three Ku Klux Klansmen accused of murdering a black civil rights leader and could not agree on verdicts for seven other Klansmen also implicated in the crime. The ten were being tried for the first time on federal charges in connection with the January 1966 slaying of Vernon Dahmer whose store and home in Hattiesburg was fire-bombed.
Three times 16 persons had been indicted on federal charges of conspiring to “intimidate, coerce and threaten” Dahmer, but the first two times the indictments were dismissed and it was not until early last May, 40 months after the crime and 16 months after the third set of indictments, that any of the 16 were tried. And then none were convicted.
One of those indicted, Klan Imperial Wizard Sam Holloway Bowers, Jr., thus won the second mistrial that year. The first, which ...
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